rolling, rolling, rolling

To those who suggested kayaks for a 5’4", 150 lb person, thanks again. I did buy an Anas Acuta this weekend and love it. My question now tho, is how do shorter people get the paddle up above the water to do a roll? The rest of my technique is good, but the paddle sinks to the bottom every time. I’ve been trying a c:c. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Doubt that
"The rest of my technique is good" and you’ve only owned it a week? Troll !

rolling rolling rolling
I have been practicing rolling for - feels like - MONTHS. I have other boats, and the problem remains the same - getting and keeping the paddle above the water line.

I’m your height

– Last Updated: Aug-24-09 9:27 AM EST –

And have rolled a friend's Anas Acuta. Your height is not a detriment to rolling this boat. You can get the paddle near enough to the surface to get good leverage.

If you are trying for the big lunge up and out kind of old style CtoC approach, you may not get a ton of height. But very few people working on their own actually get that part anyway.

This boat does take an initially bigger hip snap than some others I've rolled, tho' you can get used to it.

I suspect that either you are not wrapping up to put your nose on the deck to get into the setup, or you are gripping the paddle too tightly and it is immediately diving when you move it.

To correct, first off I'd go to a sweep or a screw roll rather than trying for the old-style CtoC. The pure CtoC doesn't do you any big favors and makes it much harder to correct things along the way. If you want to keep some of the C part, go to a sweep to C.

At the same time, get someone to work with you who can see what you are doing, provide constructive advice and help guide the paddle so you can feel what it should be like. I'd do that asap - it sounds like you may have spent time practicing some bad habits.

I don't know what your sculling is at this point, but learning to scull along with rolling is a great help. It teaches you paddle feel as well as a finer level of boat control with your lower body.

One intermediate option may be to stick a paddle float on you arm/hand and see how things go. If you get up fine that way, the issue is in your paddle diving. If you don't, you have some problems lower down. We tried this with a fellow paddler just learning last week, and she had a perfect roll up on the surface etc with that float. So it's all in her paddle.

Later comment about putting the paddle float on the end of the paddle - can create problems. I went thru trying that when I was learning (I did almost everything wrong) and it tends to train you to pull down rather than feel a supporting angle on the blade.

Where are you located? There are pnetters here who have a pretty good eye - you may be able to hook up.

C-to-C is not the best choice for folks who are short or inflexible. There are rolls that don’t need the paddle to be on the surface to be effective.

Angle to the Boat

– Last Updated: Aug-24-09 9:22 AM EST –

What I see beginners do is try to roll up when the paddle is right next to the boat. The paddle dives to the bottom. Make certain the paddle is 90 degrees to your boat before you try to roll up. Having someone guide the end of the paddle to that 90 degree angle can be a huge help. A buddy swears that putting the paddle float on the end helped him get the feel of where the paddle was supposed to be.

A greenland paddle is naturally indexed... no guessing about the angles... no diving. And what Celia says about sculling is on target. Sweeping the paddle back is fine and good but sweeping the paddle FORWARD is where I get tremendous lift. No 'snap' necessary if you can scull.

review video of self
as taken by a spectator. You will see more clearly what you are doing well and where improvement is needed. You might be pushing up with in board hand.

You might try the following.

Do some regular stretching exercises focusing on lateral trunk flexion to maximize flexibility.

As you sweep out before the hip snap concentrate on using your offside knee (e.g. left knee if you are rolling up on your right side) to help pull your trunk up toward the surface.

It’s normal to stiffen up somewhat when you are submerged. As you reach toward the surface you will use the muscles on the left side of your trunk to help pull you upward, but you also need to concentrate on allowing your right knee and the muscles on the right side of your trunk to completely relax. If you keep these muscles tensed, you will greatly reduce your ability to get your body toward the surface.

rolling rolling rolling
Thanks for all the good feedback - I will try many of them as soon as time permits. Celia - I live in NE Indiana - I am practicing w/a partner who has guided the blade angle, given feedback, etc. His sense is that I’m close. I will try the sculling, putting nose to deck prior to sweep, etc. Again - thanks for the suggestions.

that used to be my problem
I would get both hands out of the water, but with one hand higher I had the sweeping blade still in the water. Changing the paddle angle helped a lot.

When I first saw this post I thought it was about the song " Rawhide".

Anas Acuta takes no more to roll than any other excelent rolling kayak…

ignore the coment about hip snap needing to be greater than other kayaks…it’s not so.

Get competent instruction in a standard layback roll.

the C 2 C is not your best bet for sucess as a first roll in any kayak. (It is frought with issues as a first roll)

learn to Balance brace …learn to scull

The Anas Acuta is an extreamly easy rolling kayak.

rolling is easy to do, but dificult to learn and dificult to teach…because transfering the how to do it from one brain to another has to go through speech…and is usually tough to word correctly and dificult to interpet.

Easiest way is to relax and get instruction from a person that knows several differant rolls so they really understand the mechanics of body , boat, blade and getting it to all come together

If You get 2 out of the three (body, boat, blade) correct, You come up…if You get all three…You come up with no effort.

If You were closer to where I live, I would teach You…there must be someone near that has some experiance…seek the best instructor You can find. This is an important skill.

Best Wishes


Diving paddle

– Last Updated: Aug-24-09 3:59 PM EST –

It's a major problem with all new rollers so don't think you're alone. It's probably that you are pulling on it as you sweep it out hoping to come up. One thing that often works is to use a partitally inflated paddle float on it. You may have to lower yourself in on your roll up side if it has too much air. Another thing I sometimes do is stand next to the kayak with my hands clasped in a circle and tell the roller to place it in my hands and not worry about rolling up. That works very well. Use a dive mask so you can see were your paddle end is going. Everyone goes through this stuff so don't worry, it will work out. Once you get the feel of how it's supposed to travel it starts to become automatic.

rolling rolling rolling
Again, good suggestions from all - many thanks. To the Rawhide poster - yes - join me in singing it for the rest of the day :slight_smile:

Practice sculling, the scull is your sweep, do it slowly and controlled, not quick and frantic. Don’t obsess about leaning too far over or getting your body into the water.

Make sure your not holding the paddle too close to the blade with your hand. If you start out the sweep with an almost straight arm you will usually dive the paddle, make sure there is some bend n your elbow.

I agree with the video comment, get to a pool (clear water) and use one of the new waterproof digital cameras. You get instant feedback this way.

to your new boat! Rolling shouldn’t be a problem with an Anas. I had similar problems, most has already been said. Some things that helped me:

  • when starting, lean forward as much as you can, try to get both hands out of the water
  • start sweeping, but don’t apply downward power until the blade reaches 90 degrees (if sweep to C)
  • watch the active blade!
  • keep your head low as long as possible
  • index the shaft

    I started trying a layback roll, but failed too often. A sweep to C did it for me. Another big help was my greenland paddle - the very first roll with it (after years with Euro) was a success, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

    Instead of using a float you may try an extended roll, as you can go back to normal position step for step. By touching one blade you know the angle of the other. Good luck!

AA Rolling
As others have said the AA is a very easy rolling kayak. It takes a minimal hipsnap to roll this kayak, even a handroll. Being “short” has nothing to do with the challenges you are describing while rolling.

Try what the others have said, including getting some instruction. Having said that, before you practice your roll, and while still on the surface tuck forward and push your hands (and the paddle) DOWN as deep into the water as you can. If using a Greenland paddle, angle it so that it is broadside to the water and close to your hull. What this will do is to allow the paddle to be high ABOVE the water once you capsize and ready to go without any manipulation. During your roll you must sweep with your whole torso KEEPING YOUR HEAD CLOSE TO THE SURFACE THE ENTIRE TIME (you must bend actively upwards to do this). You should sweep your torso as wide as possible, while keeping your head close to the surface. Many beginners simply pull down – you need to sweep out. With a layback roll (much easier on your body than a C-to-C) once your paddle gets to 90 degrees you should be on your back and looking straight up at the sky (an open position).

Sculling and other drills as already mentioned will help you to learn the appropriate body movements.

Greg Stamer

diving paddle
"The rest of my technique is good, but the paddle sinks to the bottom every time. "

A diving paddle is only the symtom, the list of causes is long. Basically most bad techniques will have you ended up with a diving paddle.

If the paddle dives, your technique is definitely NOT good.

I’m as short as you are. But I can roll a whole bunch of boats, without needing to bring the paddle above water surface.

Try sculling to bring your body up to the surface. If your sculling is any good, you might found yourself right side up without doing anything else.

I really appreciate all the good advice
in this post - by some of the regulars who have helped me before on techniques.

I’m 5’5 1/2" and reading these comments has been a revelation to me. I took a rolling class this spring and didn’t quite get the C to C method that was the exclusive method there. The instructor was kind and patient, but young and tall; I don’t think he realized the challenge I was facing, trying to wrap my short, husky 61 year-old body around my hard-chined Tern 14 trying to do the C to C.

I lay upside down, wondering how much air I had

left as he carefully positioned my paddle in the proper position before signaling me to attempt a roll. I remember having a flashback - way back - of my elementary school writing teacher holding my hand exactly right on the pencil before I was allowed to practice letters - only then, there was no question of breathing.

While he seemed encouraged that I was about to get the roll by the end of the class, I left discouraged that maybe my body would limit my chances.

As good luck would have it, Dubside was at the event and upon coming across him, I explained my frustrations. He encouraged me to do more of a sweep, rather than a classic C to C. Your comments just give me yet more encouragement . . . I just need instruction that will take my body and boat design into account.

Hip snap comment

– Last Updated: Aug-25-09 1:10 PM EST –

I found that the initial kick had to be more distinct than in the household Romany, Nordkapp LV, my Explorer LV, my Vela, the Tempest 165 I've used for demos, the Avocet LV I tried for a day... boats that I have decidedly spent time in. Point is, I am that person's height, just about 15 pounds less and can compare it to boats that are lower decked, lower volume or lower stability than the Anas.

I also said it was not particular problem.

As to the layback roll, I found trying to be more centered as in Ben Lawry's odd but funny land-rolling video worked well. I still fell onto the back deck a bit on the way up - old habit - but the boat as original leaves me feeling a bit deep in front. Some days that creates odd stretches in my thighs when I am fully back.

My comments were in the context of rolling with a Euro, as this person is doing. I was also talking about a sweep to C if it can be named as anything, a slight shift from a full sweep. I didn't try it but suspect that the Anas would roll quite easily for me with a GP and a full layback. But in general hip snap is less of a factor in greenland rolls than the full body rotation.